France in dire need of mass shock privatisation

The former president of the Joint Association Executive Employment (APEC), Eric Verhaeghe has said France is need of "mass shock privatisation."

In an interview with French newspaper L'Express, Verhaeghe called on the French government to roll back the frontiers of the state and liberate the private sector from government controls.

Verhaeghe is not alone in his scepticism of government efficiency. In a poll for Le Figaro yesterday, 60 per cent of respondents said that quality public services could be maintained while reducing the number of staff.

Following the results of the OECD Pisa study Verhaeghe said there could be better ways to provide education instead of the high cost government run model. He said "today, in the digital era, the transmission of knowledge can not be like the days of Jules Ferry, with dozens of students locked in a classroom all day with a teacher. Public schools must reform pedagogy."

The government's plan to penalise the customers of prostitutes also came in for sharp criticism. Verhaeghe said the controversial restrictions would likely be a waste police time.

The calls come only a day after France was found to be a major drag on the Eurozone economy. Berenberg Bank's chief economist Holger Schmieding said “France is now the weakest link in Europe, the only major economy with serious problems that is not doing anything about them.”

Exorbitantly high tax rates and a punishing burden of regulation have left France with one of the most expensive labour markets in the world. Over a year has passed since the election of Francois Hollande who promised to restore growth and employment. France has suffered the opposite with persistently high unemployment and weak growth.

France measured a poor 48.4 on Markit's purchasing managers' index falling to a five month low - the worst of any major European economy. The poor figures are just the latest in a slew of bad news in the wake of the French economy's 0.1 per cent contraction in the third quarter.